Daylight Savings March 11, 2012

Ronnie, one of our Brentwood Bay Community Police Office Volunteers,  has researched an upcoming topic:  How Daylight Savings Time change can cause driver fatigue .  Ronnie’s research has come from the ICBC website.  For more information on this topic or other Traffic Safety issues please visit their website at   www.icbc.com  or  click here    Thank you for your submission Ronnie.  

Plan ahead for Daylight Savings Time.

It is that time of the year again when we all “Spring ahead” into action  and we lose  an hour of sleep.   It happens in the middle of a spring night once a year and can affect us for several days. It’s the return of Daylight Savings Time (DST), when the clock is moved one hour forward, which happens at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, March 11 for all British Colombians.

This ritual can cause disruptions in normal sleep patterns for children and adults. However, there are steps we can take to minimize the sleep loss and enjoy the benefits of healthy sleep and productive days. As we get ready to turn our clocks forward  on March 11th, 2012,  ICBC is reminding everyone to take extra care as the time change can affect us all in different ways.

“Studies show that the switch into Daylight Savings Time can have a dramatic effect on disrupting our regular sleep cycle,” said Dr. John Vavrik, a psychologist with ICBC.  “The transition into Daylight Savings Time puts us out of sync with our circadian rhythm and this can pose some unique dangers on our roads. The biggest impacts can be felt on some of the key skills that affect the quality of our driving – poorer concentration, alertness behind the wheel and reaction time to potential hazards. The real danger is that people believe if they don’t feel tired, then they aren’t fatigued,” said Vavrik. “However, while you may feel fine, your circadian rhythm can still be significantly disrupted which can affect your alertness while driving.”

“Fatigue is a serious impairment – its real risk is that we don’t often realize how much it affects us when we drive,” said Dr.Vavrik. “Fatigue can be especially dangerous when combined with other distractions behind the wheel. You really need to limit any potential distractions at this time more than ever.”

 Remember to use caution and leave extra time to get to your destinations – particularly during the Monday commute. Crash statistics illustrate a higher driving risk the first work day after Daylight Saving begins    In British Columbia,  according to the five-year average (2005-2009), on the Monday following the springtime change, there were 850 crash incidents, compared to 690 incidents the Monday before the time change, which represents a 23 per cent increase in crash incidents

Here are ICBC’s top five smart driving tips for Daylight Saving Time:

  1. Get some rest: Try to get to bed earlier – and to help yourself to fall asleep faster –exercise during the day, have a hot bath or shower before going to bed and treat yourself to a book and a warm glass of milk.
  2. Plan ahead : Give yourself extra time to drive to and from work next week.
  3. Slow down:  Keep your distance, especially with more pedestrians and cyclists on the road.
  4. Lights on: Continue to use your headlights at all times to ensure you are visible to pedestrians and other road users. Make sure your headlights are clean (splattered mud can cloud them) and that all bulbs (both high and low beam) are working properly.
  5. Be a role model : Set an example by making smart driving decisions – whether it’s to your children, passengers or other road users. Your smart decisions can have a significant influence on others. Be a good road  example.  Stay fastened on to your car seat belts – stay within the road Speed Limit – Stay alert – stay focus -  stay courteous to other drivers.

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